Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award

We know there are a lot of awesome young writers in Alberta.

We think they deserve a little extra recognition, and the Martyn Godfrey Award is just the thing! This is an annual, juried short story contest open to all Albertan students in grades 4 through 9. Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Award! You can read their stories below.

Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award logo

Who was Martyn Godfrey?

Martyn Godfrey (1949-2000) was born in England and raised in Toronto. Initially a school teacher in Ontario and Alberta, he became a full-time writer for young adult and juvenile fiction in 1985. He had more than 40 books published, and he toured with the Young Alberta Book Society for many years. One of the things he enjoyed most about his career was laughing over the creative and hilarious letters he received from kids. It was his joy in reading those letters that inspired us to create this award in his honour.

Are there prizes?

You bet! Three fabulous writers from each grade will be selected to win a collection of books, a certificate, and a place in the Winners’ Circle: an exclusive, online writing workshop with a professionally published author.

Please check back in January 2023 for details on the next Winners’ Circle!

The 2023 Deadline

The deadline is March 31, 2023. Judging will take place in April with winners notified by the end of the month.

**Please note that submissions sent through Google Docs must have permissions enabled for We have received many entries that cannot be opened because they are restricted.**

The first page of every story MUST be a title page with the following information:

  • First and Last Name:
  • City:
  • Home/Parent/Guardian Phone Number:
  • Email (parent or guardian or teacher email is okay if you don’t have your own):
  • School Name:
  • Grade:
  • Title of your story:
  • Word Count:

We’ve made a template of the title page but students can simply type the above information onto the first page of their document.

Word documents are strongly preferred because they are easier to make ready for the jury. Please use Docs rather than PDF whenever possible.

The 2023 Rules

  1. All entries must be received by 11:59pm on March 31, 2023 by email to Students may enter individually or through their school. If sending by email is not possible, please contact us to make alternate arrangements.
  2. There is no fee or membership required to enter — this program is entirely free for participants!
  3. There is no theme. Students may choose whatever theme or genre they wish.
  4. Each entry must be wholly original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere for publication or performance. (Submitted to teachers for class is okay!)
  5. Entrants must be in grade 4-9 in Alberta at the time of entry. (Homeschoolers are eligible and welcome to enter!)
  6. Each submission must be the creative and original work of a single individual (ie. work may not be co-authored with other students) and must be a complete story (ie. no first chapter of a novel entries).
  7. Using spellcheck and other digital proofreading tools is acceptable and encouraged! A level of review assistance from adults that would be acceptable for a class writing assignment is also okay — when it doubt, if it would be okay with your teacher, it’s okay for your MGA entry. Using spellcheck or asking an adult to help proofread does not break rules 2 or 4.
  8. All entries in this competition will be judged anonymously, on merit alone. Entries will be judged based on factors including but not necessarily limited to grade level appropriate grammar, spelling, composition, writing mechanics, originality, and creativity.
  9. The first page of every story MUST be a title page with: first and last name, home/parent/guardian phone number, email address, school name, current grade, story title, and word count. Entries without a complete cover page will not be accepted. We have a template that can be used or students can just type the information onto the first page of their document.
  10. There is no limit to how many stories an entrant may submit, but a separate cover page MUST be submitted for each story.
  11. Short stories must be typed in a 10 to 12 point font and double-spaced, and if hard-copy, submitted on 8.5 x 11 inch white paper with black text. Permitted fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica. If there are circumstances in which typing the story is impossible, please contact the office to discuss accommodations.
  12. Recommended short story length is 500-2500 words. Maximum short story length is 5000 words.
  13. Mailed entries may not be laminated or bound except for a single corner staple.
  14. Entries will not be returned. Please keep a copy for yourself.
  15. Winners will be asked for a mailing address to send their book prize and certificate to. This could be home, parent/guardian workplace, or school/teacher (with their permission).
  16. All contestants agree that the Young Alberta Book Society may print the winning entries, with full acknowledgement of their creators, in its newsletter, on its website, and in any other organizational publications.
  17. Winners will be notified after judging and announced on our Facebook page and website as soon as we are able to contact them.
  18. Prizes must be accepted as awarded and may not be redeemed for cash value. The decision of the judges is final.

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2022 Martyn Godfrey Award. Congratulations to all and keep writing!

2022 Martyn Godfrey Award Elementary Winners

Grade 4 Winners

  • Hailey Chan of Foundations for the Future Charter Academy in Calgary for Escape
  • Penelope Cho-Kelln of Buchanan School in Calgary for My Friend from the Deep
  • Elena Sala Macnab of Stanley Jones School in Calgary for Night Hunters

Grade 5 Winners

  • Kylie Cavilla of Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary for Two Perspectives
  • Leo Frey-Heinke of Oliver School in Edmonton for On the Ice
  • Malaya Murray of Johnny Bright School in Edmonton for Terrified

Grade 6 Winners

2022 Martyn Godfrey Award Junior High Winners

Grade 7 Winners

Grade 8 Winners

  • Abygale Fraser of Nelson Heights School in Cold Lake for Train Runner
  • Madelyn Nichol of Nelson Heights School in Cold Lake for Elegance Before Tragedy
  • Jajohn Ouyang of Westmount Charter School in Calgary for Divided

Grade 9 Winners

Past Winners

2021 Martyn Godfrey Award Winners

  • Best Grade 4 Story: Lendel Torrance of Garneau School in Edmonton for The Child Stealer
  • Best Grade 5 Story: Aneesha Sharma of Grandview Heights School in Edmonton for New Girl
  • Best Grade 6 Story: Keon Chow of Tom Baines School in Calgary for Perfections Edge: The Ecorlius Enforcer
  • Best Overall Elementary Story: Noemi Milne of Grandview Heights School in Edmonton for Bravery
  • Best Grade 7 Story: Sophia Salamon of McKernan School in Edmonton for The Councilwoman
  • Best Grade 8 Story: Addison Reed of Redwater School in Redwater for The Enchanted Cirque
  • Best Grade 9 Story: Fatima Sabir of F. E. Osborne School in Calgary for A Dream
  • Best Overall Junior High Story: Hannah Peet of Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton for Janna Elliot

2020 Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Have a Question?

Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!